Monday, February 20, 2006

Women keep giving me looks.

And not saucy 'come-hither' looks either.

The first was a few days ago in town. A elderly-ish lady was meandering gaily along the pavement, and bumped the elbow of a much younger woman, who I would estimate from her fashion sense (jeans with writing on the arse, jacket with furry collar) to be either a hairdresser or an itinerant furrier, who, due to fits of amnesia, had resorted to having her name (Miss 'Bench' apparently) written on her person*, so that people can shout it out to remind her. Actually the writing was very slightly embossed, so maybe she stamps it in the snow every time she sits down.

But I digress. Older woman careened on her way, leaving younger, bottom-stamped woman glaring around her in a state of utter rage. Until she made eye-contact with me (Fool! Never make eye-contact with women on the street! You'll end up dead or married or both!). At which point her rage seemed to intensify if anything, her face contorting with the sort of furious hatred you only see on those new-fangled 'running zombie' films like 28 Days Later, or the Dawn of the Dead remake, or Love Actually (In my version, anyway).

So, like the heroes of those films, I turned up Ed Harcourt on the personal stereo and walked briskly away.

And then, the next day, whist happily splashing about in the pool (I like to go three times a week, as it's quite good exercise and I often think of useful plot points while I swim. 'Aha!' I say to myself, then nearly drown), it happened again.

There was a group of rowdy men in the jacuzzi. Well I say rowdy, I just mean they were overweight with short hair and tattoes. And they were just chatting, but you never know. Rowdiness could have broken out any second. And some friend of theirs opened the door from the reception area and wandered over to say hello. Wearing his trainers.

At which point, another elderlyish woman did that peculiarly British thing of sort of complaining loudly, not quite to the person you're complaining to, then fizzling out anyway.

Which sounded like this: 'YOU'RE NOT SUPPosed to wear shoes in here actually...'

Trainer Man sort of looked over, although elderlyish woman was already swimming in the other direction. He looked puzzled, as though someone had started to say something, got quiet halfway through then swum away, which made sense, as that was what had happened. So he went back to talking to his mates.

And on her way back, the elderlyish woman gave me exactly the same look the other woman had given me. That 'Someone should do something' look.

I have to say I completely agree. But it wasn't going to be me, because to be honest, I didn't really care enough. So I continued on my swim, and elderly-ish lady and I passed each other ever two minutes or so. And each time the woman gave me That Look, while Trainer Man carried on, defiantly wearing Trainers and chatting to his rowdy mates.

It's probably because I'm tall, and not un-broad. In fact I heard some thing on the radio, where someone tried to mug someone else, and the someone else turned out to be a rugby player who was 'six foot one and thirteen stone' as the announcer said in an incredulous voice, as if the buckling of the cobble stones beneath the someone else's feet and the light sprinkling of snow on the top of his head should have been enough warning to the attempted mugger. And I'm an inch taller than that, and a stone heavier, so theoretically I should be lumbering around the streets roaring and snarling and occasionally kicking cars into parks and brushing my teeth with trees.

In fact, I'm a terrible coward with no stomach for confrontation. And eventually it occured to me that if those blokes all got out at once I would either have to share a changing room with them, where they might snap me with a towel, or try and include me in homophobic jokes, or make join the Freemasons, or I'd have to stay in the pool for another half hour, and my fingers were already a bit pruney.


* 'I wasn't staring at your arse, I was reading.'

** I got out early in the end. Blimey, I thought this post was never going to finish. Apologies.


Evans said...

Your tallosity factor IS high Jas, but you are able to reach many tins and impersonate other tall people with aplomb (whatever one of those is). And you can be a social vigilante, as those spotty Canterburian youths once learned to their peril when you scolded them for their litterbugging (which I now wish was some kind of homage to 40s dancing, using discarded Mars Bars wrappers in the style of Morris.)

James Henry said...

Hey, has your hat turned up by the way? I posted it ages ago.

Evans said...

Hat not only arrived, but was on head yesterday. Bless your little hat posting self. Did you get into any kind of comedy scrape with the postbox?

Dave said...

'I often think of useful plot points'

For some reason I read that as 'pot plants' and had very esoteric visions of what you might be planning to do with said handy indoor shrubs.

Probably put them on high shelves, where 5'8" shorties like me can't reach them.

*Dwarfish glare*

James Henry said...

Currently, pot plants are useful only for hurling themselves off surfaces and getting soil everywhere, the bastards.

Bloody Nature.

Ev - glad to hear hat made its way back to London. No amusing post box encounters, unfortunately. That I know of. Probably a falling piano just missed me and I failed to notice or something.

Evans said...

Consarnit! Missed again!

felinity said...

Ahh, Ed, always a useful barrier against the rigours of public glaring. If she could have heard your personal soundtrack I'm sure it would have softened her inner (and outer) vitriole.

Anonymous said...

A persecution complex whilst being too large to hide behind a lamp post. That must be hard. On the plus side you don't wear trainers so any woman with writing across her arse is unlikely to want to marry you. So it all evens out in the end..

James Henry said...



Ooh, sorry, coffee.

Taiga the Fox said...

Oh, now I begin to have an idea why you'd like to visit Scandinavia. You're tall and deep down there you want to smash cars and use wood in various ways.

I'm sorry, I couldn't remain silent. I tried hard, believe me...

Anonymous said...

An amusing(ish - on a quiet day) game in Falmouth would be to cut out sticky "W"s and go around carefully placing them over all the "B"s on those stupid clothes. Is it JUST Falmouth where this idiot clothing has reached epidemic proportions? James, you leave town sometimes - do people advertise their label-victim status so violently beyond Penryn Asda???

James Henry said...

Try Canterbury on a Saturday. Yeesh.